I’m a guest blogger today whilst Ismay enjoys a well-deserved Christmas break! My name is Philippa Crommentuijn-Marsh and I’m a researcher in the field of sustainable fashion. What interests me particularly are consumers and what they think about sustainability and whether their knowledge positively affects their clothing behaviour (or not!).
I did some research into this area a couple of years ago and discovered that generally there was low awareness about some of the major issues affecting the fashion industry. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, the issue that people had most knowledge about was the exploitation of clothing workers in terms of low pay and bad working conditions. These are issues that have probably appeared the most in the media.
The least known issue was the diminishing Aral Sea. Have a look on Google Images and see how this inland sea has dramatically shrunk over the years, by over 80%, mainly due to water being diverted to irrigate the cotton crop. It’s a startling image and is a good demonstration of what environmental devastation the fashion industry can cause. Yet it seemed to be little known then. Given that this inland sea is in Uzbekistan I strongly suspect that a lot of people (including me) wouldn’t be able to find Uzbekistan easily on a map!
When events are happening far away in a country most people aren’t familiar with it is harder to find out what is happening. For the people taking part in the research when they heard more about the ethical and environmental costs of the fashion industry, there were some positive indications of potential behaviour change. Fast forward to today and since I completed my research there is noticeably much more information coming from the media about the fashion industry and sustainability.
Just last year I was pleased to see the Aral Sea being featured on the BBC programme Stacey Dooley Investigates Fashion’s Dirty Secrets (unfortunately the episode doesn’t seem to be available on the BBC anymore though you can watch a short clip showing the Aral Sea in its current state).(1) There have been more TV programmes highlighting the exploitation of garment workers throughout the world and almost every week there seems to be an article in the media about some aspect of sustainability.
Recently I noticed two sustainable issues affecting the current party season. Firstly, sequins, which were highlighted recently as being bad for the environment. They are mostly made out of plastic which don’t biodegrade for hundreds of years as well as containing microplastics which can harm aquatic life. Though there has been some encouraging progress towards producing more sustainable sequins this will take time. (2) Sequinned clothing is popular at this time of year for party outfits and according to a recent survey the average person will spend £73.90 on a Christmas outfit that for some people won’t be worn again. Within this season alone this adds up to £2.4 billion pounds on clothes that are hardly worn. (3) This may partially explain the overall UK spend in 2018 on clothing being a whopping £60.4 billion pounds. (Statista.com)
Apparently the spend on clothing is on an upward trajectory meaning that fast fashion is still hugely popular, and consumers don’t seem to be changing their behaviour despite the plethora of information about sustainability. If you are interested in dressing more sustainably, the charity Hubbub behind this research gives tips on how to dress for the party season (4) and the BBC have also recently produced an article on companies that offer clothing for hire which seems to be a growing area and becoming more popular (5). Will all this information and new fashion services change consumer behaviour? I look forward to finding out more!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our followers and supporters.
The campaign ended today 102% funded with a final total of £4,837 from 75 backers
Big thank you to everyone for all your pledges and support.
If anyone missed out on pre-ordering and still wants to, you can contact me as we are keeping the pre-order list open until the 6th January.
This is your last post from me from for while apart from a special one tomorrow.
Am now going to have a well earned break over the Christmas holidays and I can relax knowing that our little business is starting to grow ❤️
To those of you that backed us I will be in contact with you in the New Year with project updates.
Also, please sign up to our mailing list by clicking the button below to make sure you don't miss any of our exciting news.
#crowdfunding #kickstarter #brandlaunch
We are so close the end of the crowdfund campaign now AND WE HAVE JUST HIT OUR TARGET!!
So to celebrate we are increasing our discount to up to 30% off!!!
This is your LAST CHANCE to support us and get some amazing Boy Wonder product that are fun, unique and ethical. You can still donate as we need every penny to help our little business grow.
If have already pledged/backed us there are new designs on the site in case you want to change them. You can also increase your pledge if you want to add anything else. Otherwise again please spread the word as widely as possible.
It’s been so amazing to see you all chip during the campaign so thank you again. I have been really touched to have you all support me (and put up with my incessant pestering!) We couldn’t have done it without you.
#crowdfund #brandlaunch #kickstarter
If you are backing us on Kickstarter or thinking about doing so you will be helping us to go into production and grow our little business. With just 48 HOURS LEFT OF THE CAMPAIGN I thought some reasons why supporting us is such a good idea might help you decide to pledge;
1. Ethically Made
All our garments are made in Britain and the cloth is also made by an ethical manufacturer too. So we can you give you peace of mind that our clothes are made for kids not by kids.
2. Stereo-type Free
You won't find any of the usual cars and dinosaurs in our prints like most boys fashion. We don't use boring 'boy' colours like grey, navy and brown either.
3. Organic Cotton
We only use certified organic cotton in our garments which is kind to your child's skin and the planet. Organic cotton is not only chemical free but also has a lower carbon footprint.
4. Circular Design Principles
We design clothes to last with extra growth room, high quality construction and special design features. Meaning less shopping and expense for you. We also sell garment care products and provide care guides upon purchase.
5. Hand-drawn Prints
All our prints are bespoke and hand-drawn by me. You won't find them anywhere else. We think boys should have as much fun with fashion as girls do!
6. Sustainable Practices
We use sustainable practices like digital printing to be as low impact as possible. We are a green business using renewable energy and an electric vehicle. We consider our environmental impact in every area of the business.
7. Made in Britain
Our garments and fabrics are made just over 20 miles from our office making it a truly local project. This keeps our fashion miles down as well as supporting local communities.
8. Premium Quality
Our fabrics and garments are all made to a high quality. Receiving a Boy Wonder product is a special thing and will arrive carefully wrapped in tissue paper in a special box.
9. Plastic Free
All our products and packaging, as well as our office supplies, promo materials and swing tags are all plastic free and made with recycled bio-degradable materials.
All our garments are machine washable at 30 degrees making life easier for you. Ribbed cuffs and necklines are in contrast fabric to reduce your washing and iron-on patches can cover any stains.
Well, I hope that's convinced you that we are worth supporting.
You can go to the crowdfund campaign page via the button below.
#crowdfund #fashionlaunch #startupbusiness
Since our ethical fashion range went live on Kickstarter we have had many visitors to the site. However, most of them are not converting to backers which suggests they are not the right customer and not willing to pay the premium prices that ethical fashion costs. So, why is ethical fashion more expensive than the high street and the supermarkets?
Most large retailers manufacture in countries where the wages are extremely low so as to maximise on their own profits. One of the biggest garment manufacturing countries at the moment is Bangladesh, where most garment workers receive just 3,000 taka a month (approximately £25) but a living wage is calculated to be 4000 taka a month (£45). Ethical brands use manufacturers that pay their staff a real living wage, as well as paying living wages themselves. Manufacturing in the UK that means paying £9.30 an hour or £10.75 in London.
Economies of Scale
Large high street retailers and supermarkets will order vast amounts of each style which means they can buy them as much lower unit costs. They will be buying 1000's of metres of fabric at a lower cost too. Ethical brands are much smaller and so would have much smaller orders meaning their making and fabric costs will be much higher. For example a t-shirt can cost a high street retailer as low as £3 to make, pack & ship based on an order of over 4000 pieces. (That's before they put their retail mark-up on it) It costs me as a start-up nearly £18 because I can only aim to reach 50 pieces.
Large companies have enormous power which they use to help drive down prices. Factories owners often have the threat or worry of losing orders unless they can bring their units costs down to the point where they make very little money themselves. This is why the garment workers are paid so little and work in appalling conditions. There are so many factories and other poor countries vying for business that a retailer can easily go elsewhere to find a better deal.
Most budget fashion is cheap because it's made with synthetic fabrics. The price of organic cotton is substantially higher than these and conventional cotton because the extra money is used to grow cotton more sustainably, to cover certification checks and provide better lives for the workers. Big brands will often dye or print vast amounts of fabrics different colours or prints to use in different ways too, so reducing their costs further.
Big retailers have huge customer bases and massive marketing budgets, whereas ethical fashion is still a relatively niche market. Until there is more demand for ethical fashion, in a similar way to the organic food movement, the prices will stay high. Investors are less likely to invest in ethical companies unless they can see evidence of customer demand, so companies wanting to do the right things struggle to grow on their own.
Because large fashion retailers are able to buy their products at such low cost prices they are able to add on high mark-ups. Fashion items are normally marked up at 2 or 3 times the wholesale price. Remember that t-shirt that cost under £3 to make? With a retail mark-up the retail price would still be only £9. These large mark-ups also give big brands the ability to discount heavily when they need to shift stock. Ethical brands have higher making costs as seen above so can't add so much of a mark-up and are therefore limited to how deeply they can discount. This affects again how many customers they can attract.
So, does this make you think more about the value rather than the high costs of ethical fashion?
Hopefully it helps you to understand how difficult it is for ethical brands to survive especially in today's world of fast fashion.
#ethicalfashion #livingwage #fashionstartup
BIG thank you to everyone who has backed/pledged so far. We are only on 41% as pledges have slowed. Please help by spreading the word and if you haven't backed us yet and want to get your name on this board then click on the button below. Not sure how to do that then read my blog post all about Kickstarter and how it works here.
#crowdfunding #backers #pledges
Hello everyone ,
We are now on day 5 of the campaign and at 40% of our funding goal.
We need to get things moving as the pledges have really slowed since the first day.
So, I have decided to implement a referral scheme offering you and anyone you refer 10% cashback.
All you have to do is head to our booster page following the link below.
Then copy your unique referral link and share it with whoever you can, online and in person.
Please note that this offer is only valid for new referrals you bring to the project and will not be valid against your original pledge.
Thanks again for all your support!
#crowdfunding #kickbooster #referralscheme
So our crowdfund campaign has now launched and we need your help to make it a success. The social media and PR side of the business is extremely time consuming as I am doing it all on my own. It doesn't leave much time for anything else right now!
So I am asking everyone I know including all you lovely readers to tell at least 3 other people about us, what we do and our campaign.
Sharing, liking, retweeting, commenting and generally engaging with our campaign content on social media will also help us to get seen. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Go and visit the Kickstarter campaign even if you don't want to buy anything and share it to your social media feeds.
Sign up to our mailing list too to keep up-to-date with what's happening with the campaign. There will be exciting offers and the possibility of new products too so don't miss out.
I really appreciate all the support and feedback many of you have given me over the years in getting set-up so a big thanks to all of you. Let's make Boy Wonder a success together!
#brandlaunch #startupbrand #ethicalfashion
When we launched our campaign on Kickstarter it soon became evident that most of our audience were not familiar with crowdfunding or backing projects and weren't even sure what it was. So I thought I should put together a post to explain what it is and how to use it.
Crowdfunding is a great way to raise money from a 'crowd' to fund a project. Kickstarter is one that is product based but there are also ones that raise money for equity or charity. Products featured in the projects have normally been sampled or prototyped and the money raised is often to then take them into production. This means the goods are not available to buy straight away as the backer is pledging to have it made first. This set-up has helped a lot of interesting (and crazy) ideas become reality, which probably wouldn't have got funding in the traditional ways. It is also a great way for creators to test the demand for their product before investing in it as putting a lot of money into stock before knowing it will sell is very risky..
You can only make one pledge on Kickstarter, but you can add other items onto your pledge and increase the amount to cover the add on. We include a handy table to show the prices with add-ons. So if you decide you want to add something else you can go back to the site and go to 'manage pledge'. You can also cancel a pledge if you need to, but only while the project is live. You will receive a confirmation page and/or email once the pledge has gone through.
You also don't need to actually pledge on an item (reward) you can just back the campaign by selecting no reward and an amount or select one of the little, big or super wonders rewards that are set a specific amount. So If you have now little wonders to buy for you can still support what we are doing.
Kickstarter works on an all-or-nothing basis, so if a project doesn't hit its funding goal within the timeframe they have set then they don't get anything. This means as a backer that your bank card would not be charged if the target is missed. If it is successful your card will be charged only at the end of the project for the final amount pledged. You will be notified about whether the project has succeeded by Kickstarter and by us.
If a funding goal is met before the end of the project you can still pledge. Most project creators like us will set a low goal that only covers their bare minimum costs, otherwise they risk not getting anything at all if they can't raise the funds. So keep pledging as this gives the creators much needed extra funds.
The Kickstarter site doesn't give you choices about sizes and colours etc. So at the end of a successful campaign you are sent a survey where you add all these details and contact information for shipping. You will be regularly updated by the us after the project ends about the progress on production.
If you have anymore questions please do contact me.
#crowdfunding #kickstarter #pledging
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